Past Commencement Speaker
Lisa Marie Long
Lisa Marie Long of Fostoria has been selected as the Owens Community College class representative and will address the graduates during this evening's 48th Annual Spring Commencement Ceremony. She is graduating in Early Childhood Education with a 4.0 grade-point average and Summa Cum Laude honors.
The first person from her family to both attend college and earn a college degree, Long's journey to the Owens Community College Findlay-area Campus started in southern California, where she grew up in sunny San Diego. There, she met her future husband, Richard, and they returned to Ohio in 2009 to be near Richard's family and married in 2010. They now have two boys, ages 10 and 3.
In 2009, Long made the decision to pursue a higher education at Owens and enrolled in Spring Semester 2010.
"I was working 3 minimum wage jobs and was a full-time mom. I was spending savings just to pay my own bills. I wasn't making enough to live. I didn't own a car," she said of the life-changing moment when she decided to go to college. "I was riding on the bus with my son, singing the ABC's. I knew I couldn't go on working these jobs and not being able to pay to live. I had to go to college. I figured out I wanted to be a teacher. The joy I had of being around my son, I wanted that all the time.
"If you have to be away from your children, you want to do something that you love," she said.
Long drew inspiration on her educational path from her husband, who recently completed his degree at Bowling Green State University and now works in student services in Brown Mackie College in Findlay.
She also mentioned Owens Professor Melinda Gray, who "advocated for our class and helped us. We could text her questions at any time. We were Facebook friends and we could contact her on Facebook with questions. She always made us feel we were capable and she wanted us to succeed."
Gray praised Long, writing on Long's nomination, "Throughout her coursework, she has been an exceptional student. She consistently goes above and beyond the required expectations to deliver excellence. Her classmates often look to her for ideas and guidance, which she always rises to the occasion. I look for Lisa to do wonderful things in Early Childhood Education."
This week has been quite memorable for Long, who turned 30 a few days ago and now starts a new life as a college graduate. She said she has two teaching job offers that she is considering. Her ultimate goal is to be a lead teacher, and for that, she said she will need a bachelor's degree. She is currently deciding which 4-year institution to continue her education.
"When you see something changing in a child you are working with, and you know it's because of the work you are doing," Long said, "it's a great feeling."
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- View past Class Speakers.